David H. Overmyer’s Art

Topeka High proudly displays 3 works of art by former student, David Hicks Overmyer.

Above the fireplace in The English Room (306) hangs his 1937 painting of medieval pilgrims, ” The Pageant of England”.

Funded by a 1937 WPA grant, the School Board commissioned Mr. Overmyer to paint the massive wall mural, nearly 1,000 square feet, for the teachers’ cafeteria.

In 1986 the THS Historical Society acquired from Shawnee County the 6’8″ by 14′ Overmyer mural titled “Kansas, the End of the Trail”.

The Kansas Free Fair Assn. had originally commissioned the painting in 1939 for its new Agriculture Hall. Paul Beauchamp restored it for the Society, as one of the first of many accomplishments during the next 25 years.

Born in Topeka in 1889, Overmyer was an illustrator; a painter who specialized in murals, portraits, and landscapes; a commercial artist; and a teacher. He studied at the Reid-Stone Art School in Topeka and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He was hired in 1945, by Charles Marshall, state architect, to paint murals depicting the state’s history in the first floor of the Capitol’s rotunda. Because of the limited funds available, Marshall had to hire Overmyer as an ordinary painter, paying him the same wages as if the walls were to be painted with interior house paint.

This piece can be found in the English Room.